Health status of preweaned dairy heifers in the United States

S. J. Wells, L. P. Garber, G. W. Hill

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36 Scopus citations


The first national estimates of mortality and morbidity for preweaned dairy heifers in the US were generated from monitoring heifers from 906 operations in 28 states prospectively using a daily diary card system. Results indicated that the cumulative mortality incidence risk from birth to 8 weeks of life was 6.3% with a peak of 1.9% during the first week of life. Season of birth was significantly associated with cumulative mortality incidence risk, and mortality risk was highest in the periods January to March and October to December. Cumulative incidence risk of diarrhea to 8 weeks of age was 24.6% with a peak of 15.4% during the second week of life. Diarrhea incidence risk varied by region, with the West having the highest incidence risk (30.5%) and the Northeast the lowest (19.2%), as well as by herd size, with the smallest herd size having the lowest reported incidence risk of diarrhea to 8 weeks of age (18.8%). Other reported 8 week cumulative disease incidence risks included listlessness, 10.0%; respiratory disease, 8.4%; dehydration, 4.1%; lameness or joint problems, 1.1%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Dairy heifer
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality


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